I’ve spoken with a lot of voters this month. Mostly Democrats and independents, but also some from the opposing party. All from Florida. Most agree we need things to get better. But that means something different to each one. We have to bring it home one voter at a time. (More)

Bring It Home, Part I – Make It Personal

This week Morning Feature will discuss closing strong on this year’s election campaign: what my high school basketball coach used to call bringing it home. Today we’ll bring it home person-by-person. Tomorrow we’ll bring it home with local issues. Saturday we’ll bring it home with moral values.

It’s been a long month, and I’m ready for this election to be over. Both here at BPI and here in my county, it seems like forever since I’ve thought much about anything else. Next to my desk is a clipboard with another list of doors to knock on, and back at my county office wait yet more lists. But right now I can’t think about big numbers. Not the polls, or how many doors I’ve knocked on, or how many I have left. The only number that matters now is one: the next voter I meet.

How will I bring it home for that one voter? I don’t use a script. In canvassing there are no magic words. It depends on what matters to that one person.

“Semper Fi.”

He filled the doorway when he opened the door. “Can I help you?” I introduced myself as his Democratic Party precinct leader. He shook his head. “I’m an independent. Don’t much like the Democrats. I’m big on personal responsibility.”

I nodded. “I hope you’ll vote, though.”

“Oh yeah,” he said. “Probably not for your people though.”

“Well, Semper Fi,” I said. His face changed. A slow smile. I nodded toward his truck. “I saw your bumper sticker as I walked up. When were you in?”

We exchanged brief service bios. There was no overlap; he was in his mid-30s and I’m nearly 50. “Do you miss the Corps?” I asked.

“I miss some things,” he answered. “Other stuff, not so much.”

“Same here,” I said. “I liked the community. We had different jobs. Came from different places. But we were all Marines.”

He nodded. “We looked out for each other.”

“It’s the same with our country,” I said. “We should be looking out for each other.”

“Yeah,” he agreed. “Especially in this economy.”

The conversation got easier after that. I said two of our local Democratic candidates were also veterans, and talked about how Democrats believe in looking out for each other. I handed him a flyer on our candidates.

“I’ll look them over,” he said. “No promises, but I like that they’re vets. And we need to look out for each other.”

“I never slow down.”

She’d just come home from work. The scents of garlic and basil wafted from the kitchen. On the counter, I saw a gallon can of olive oil. “Something smells good.”

She smiled. “My daughter’s making dinner. Pesto, I think.”

“My daughter cooks too sometimes,” I said. “Not as often now, since she’s in college and working. She’s hardly ever home.”

“Sounds like me,” she said. “I never slow down.”

She’d already said she planned to vote. She hoped to vote early. “Of course I’ll vote for Democrats,” she said with a laugh. “I want things to get better, not worse.”

“We love people like you,” I said. “We need more of you.”

“A lot more,” she agreed. “It’s hard this year. The other guys have a lot of money.”

I nodded. “So we have to do it with people. We really do need more of you. People to make calls and help get out the vote.”

She paused. “I’d like to but I need to be home with the kids.”

“I understand,” I said. “The good news is, we can set you up to make calls from home.”

“Now that I could do,” she said. “I’m usually on the phone anyway. Might as well be doing something good.”

“Like you said, you never slow down. A teacher once told me, if you want help, ask a busy person. They’re busy because they actually do things.”

She laughed. “Your teacher must have meant me. Okay. How can I help?”

Bring it home. Make it personal.

Happy Thursday!